Postpartum Angiopathy and Related Disorders

Jennifer E. Fugate, Alejandro A. Rabinstein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Postpartum angiopathy (PPA), a cerebral vasculopathy, is considered comparatively rare, but may be under-recognized. The diagnosis is made based on neurologic symptoms in the postpartum setting with documented angiographic findings of multifocal segmental vasoconstriction. Symptoms of PPA are usually encountered in the first 1-2 weeks after an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery, but can be delayed for up to 6 weeks postpartum. Classically patients present with abrupt, excruciating headaches. The pain is commonly holocephalic and may be accompanied by nausea, visual disturbances, encephalopathy, or seizures. Though there have been cases reported without headache, the absence of this symptom should raise suspicion for other diagnoses, as it is a prominent and early feature in the vast majority of described cases. Headaches can be persistent or may fluctuate and manifest as recurrent thunderclap headaches over several days. Generalized seizures are the second most commonly reported neurologic symptom in PPA, followed by visual disturbances and encephalopathy. A variety of visual disturbances can occur, including transient scotomas, visual field deficit, and cortical blindness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeurological Disorders and Pregnancy
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780123849113
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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